177984 Promoting health in underserved rural El Salvador: An ongoing outreach and education program

Monday, October 27, 2008

Elizabeth G. Bayne, MPH , Graduate Film, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA
El Salvador has a developing economy still recovering from 12 years of civil war, earthquakes in 2001, and hurricanes in 1998 and 2005. In many rural communities, Salvadorans live in poverty and lack access to basic public health services. In the fishing village of Isla de Mendez, on the southern region of Úsulután, the average income is less than half the national average per capita. There is no formal infrastructure for services, such as healthcare, water treatment, or waste disposal. To address concerns identified by the local community, public health workers, from Health CORE at Yale University, collaborate with community leaders and partner with regional development organizations to implement community-based public health interventions. Outreach and education materials are developed to provide information and training to residents, community health advocates and youth on topics ranging from environmental stewardship, water sanitation, and hygiene. Interventions are designed to require minimal economic resources to maximize self-sustainability. Annual community-wide surveys are conducted to evaluate program performance and monitor health trends in the community. Survey questions cover basic demographics, personal health and behavior, environment, reproductive and child health, water sanitation, hygiene, nutrition, and social concerns. Survey findings assist policy and development decisions of regional development organizations, Foundation for Self-Sufficiency in Central America (FSSCA) and La Coordinadora, a local sustainable development organization. The research provides a reference point for US-based public health workers developing community-based interventions for underserved populations abroad.

Learning Objectives:
1. Coordinate outreach in collaboration with existing local stakeholders and partners to maximize impact and sustainability. 2. Develop relevant community-based interventions through enhanced cultural immersion. 3. Evaluate program impact and track community health trends to improve intervention design.

Keywords: Community-Based Health Promotion, Developing Countries

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I participated in the planning and implementaion of the initiatives described for two years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.